In their ongoing representation of the Union League Club of Chicago (ULC), Novack and Macey attorneys Andrew Fleming, Andrew Shelby, and Ian Flanagan won yet another key victory for their client when an Illinois appellate panel upheld a 2021 judgment against Thompson Fine Art Limited, which had previously claimed the ULC unlawfully reneged on an agreement to sell a (ULC housed) Claude Monet painting for $7.2 million.
The panel said a trial court had correctly granted the ULC a judgment over the Australian fine art company because previously made statements from ULC officials couldn’t reasonably be construed as a true intent to sell the 1872 painting.
In the initial trial, Thompson argued a contract existed between the two parties in lieu of statements made by ULC's President, and an email from its General Manager, which collectively suggested the club wanted to raise money from the sale with the intent of accepting both the “highest and best offer,” above $6.5 million as well as a “best and final offer” from interested purchasers.
However, much like the trial court ruled, the panel said, “at best the communication jointly could be viewed as the solicitation of an offer, and that “neither the statement nor email, taken alone or together, constitute an offer” to sell the painting to Thompson.
The panel further added, “Thompson could not merely assent to conclude the deal. Instead, the club would have to take further action before a contract was formed.”
Partner Andrew Fleming noted his client "is thrilled with the result and pleased that its position has been fully vindicated by the courts."
The case is Thompson Fine Art Ltd. v. Union League Club of Chicago, case number 21-0391, in the Illinois Appellate Court, First District.